Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Channeling Coffin

Some years ago, while I was still in academia, I conducted a workshop and I was paid in books. This means there was no real money to pay me, but I could buy books to support my research or teaching.

But any book was fine. So I ordered, among other things, David Coffin's book on shirt-making. No relationship to teaching or research. Oh well.

Truthfully I was attracted to the cover, which included this woman's shirt. Just look how elegant she must be with her pleats, tucks, off-center collar, and of course the lovely fresh-cut flowers. I assumed the keys to this magical shirt would be within the covers of my new book.

Now I may have missed something, but I think that's the one shirt he never references in this book.

Recently I have been practicing my sleeve plackets (a.k.a. tower plackets) and so finally I realized that the *cuffs* were really cuff-less sleeves with the placket, pleats, an angular finish to the tower pleat, and one sweet button with possibly a loop.

So I set out to try to make a similar cuff-less cuff on my version of TSW Zen top. The sleeves on this top are plain and quite wide at the bottom. Perfect pallet for my experiment.

As usual I created a number of learning opportunities by screwing things up, but I won't detail those here.

I completed the placket as usual and added 3 pleats around it. Then I cut a self-fabric bias strip 2.5 inches wide, folded wrong sides together, and created a modified facing for the sleeve edge.

I noticed that no stitching shows on the right side of his sleeve cuff. How did he do that??? The fabric appears to be a light-weight, semi-sheer linen. So there cannot be any lining providing hidden support. I decided to simply turn and press the bias facing in place. Then I tacked it to the shirt everywhere I could do so without any surface stitch showing.

TSW Zen Double Collar

And it seems to have worked!

I'm thinking that clever double collar on the Zen top would make a clever cuff too.


  1. Imagine getting paid in books...that would totally work for me!

    I love the shirt...especially the double collar and the sleeve plackets....

  2. This looks like a beautiful success! I'm just not much of a shirt-with-collar-&-cuffs dresser, but I would be thrilled to wear a shirt like this.

    Makes a note to add the Zen pattern to my collection.... (I think I've made this note before....)

  3. Lovely Zen shirt Martha. You always inspire me.

  4. Cool double collar and cuffless cuffs! A nice shirt, for sure.

  5. Another great shirt to add to your growing collection! Very professional looking and gorgeous fabric!

  6. You are very creative. I love tailored shirts with quirky bits.

  7. The fabric is super and so suits the shirt style. Zen and tthe art of shirt making no?

  8. Sorry to be so dense, but I don't understand how to secre the button. Is there a buttonhole there?

    1. rhodeanie,
      Not a dense question, at all. I added a button loop to the edge of the cuff. You can just make it out (if you know where to look) in the photo of the inside of the cuff. It is a bias tube made of the same fabric, so not easy to see. Thanks for stopping by!